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The Diamond Jubilee Stakes

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TWILIGHT SON with trainer Henry Candy after The Diamond Jubilee Stakes Royal Ascot 18 Jun 2016 - Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

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History

The third race in the QIPCO British Champions Series Sprint category, Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes (renamed in 2012 in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee) is run on the last day of the Royal Meeting.

It boasts Lester Piggott as its most successful jockey and Vincent O’Brien as its most successful trainer. You can’t get much better than that. In a vote for the greatest figure in the history of horseracing conducted by the Racing Post newspaper, O’Brien came first, with his long-standing stable jockey Piggott coming second.

O’Brien was the sort of man best described by what he did not achieve rather than what he did. The Irishman, in short, dominated National Hunt racing – three Grand Nationals in a row – dominated Flat racing – training six Derby winners – then helped set up the legendary Coolmore Stud. But even he could not claim to be associated with the Golden Jubilee’s most successful horse, Prince Charlie, who won the race three times in a row from 1872.

The Diamond Jubilee is run just four days after the Kings Stand Stakes on the first day of Ascot’s Royal Meeting, but some horses contest both races and the brilliant Australian-trained sprinter, Choisir, memorably wrote his name into the record books by winning them both in 2003.

Established in 1868 and originally known as the Cork and Orrery Stakes, the race was upgraded to Group 1 status and renamed to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, before taking on its new title of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2012.  It is open to three-year-olds or older horses and is run over 6 furlongs (1,200 metres).

In 2014 Irish trainer Edward Lynam saddled both the winner of the King’s Stand Stakes (Sole Power) and the Diamond Jubilee with Slade Power, a remarakable achievement.

Current leading jockey: No current jockey has won this more than once
Current leading trainers: Dermot Weld, 2 wins (1984, 1987)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Sweet success for Candy as Twilight Son prevails

Twilight Son overcame an unorthodox preparation to win a gripping renewal of The Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of Royal Ascot.

Trainer Henry Candy revealed that the four-year-old and his galloping companion, La Rioja, had both got loose in their final serious pieces of work before running in their respective QIPCO British Champions Series races at the meeting.

“I took him to Newbury recently to do a piece of work with him and he decided that he wanted to do two bits of work,” Candy said. “He got rid of his work-rider and did a piece of work himself and then we did what we’d come there to do.

“La Rioja [fourth in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday] got rid of her rider, too, and they a nice spin round loose. It wasn’t funny at the time. I could do without mornings like that.”

Saturday’s nine-runner contest featured quality sprinters from four different countries and looked a real head-scratcher beforehand. Identifying the winner was no easier 20 yards from the line as five runners thundered towards the finish almost as one.

At the line, less than half a length covered the quintet in what must be one of the closest bunch finishes to any Group One race. Twilight Son, ridden  by Ryan Moore, prevailed by a neck from Hong Kong raider Gold-Fun, with French challenger Signs Of Blessing a short head further back in third.

Magical Memory, the favourite, who looked the most likely winner half a  furlong out as he came through from off the pace, was a head further back in fourth. Suedois was just another short head behind him in fifth.

On the betting exchanges, all five traded at 2-1 or shorter.

Remarkably, Candy was enjoying only his third Royal Ascot winner – and his first since Pipedreamer won the Royal Hunt Cup in 1979.

“Being me, I’ve never come here thinking we’ll ever have a winner,” Candy, a renowned pessimist, said. “We’ve been close a good few times in the past and it’s nice to get the job done finally – we’ve had to wait for it.”

Moore said: “I always felt that, when I was going to ask him, he was going to win. He travelled very strongly and, when I rode him here last year, he felt like a very good horse. It has obviously taken a while for him to come to hand but I felt Mr Candy (trainer Henry) was very confident.

“This horse has done very little wrong – he has only been beaten a couple of times. He has proven himself as a high-class colt. The pace wasn’t strong enough for him and it would have been better if they had gone quicker.”

Hong Kong-based trainer Richard Gibson offered no excuses for Gold-Fun, saying: “In these Group Ones I never like making excuses and Royal Ascot is the top level and we missed it by a whisker, which is disappointing.

“He’s a fantastic horse and he’s done us all proud today. We have come a long way and, from a professional point of view, you are always pleased when your horse runs to his rating. It was tight and all credit to the winner  – we have got no excuses today.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

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The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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